What Is A Local Business?
Go back maybe 10 years or so and if you were searching for a local business you would have grabbed your copy of the Yellow Pages or Thomson Local and flicked through the pages until you found the business that you were searching for.
But time moves on and those paper directories no longer exist; they have been replaced by the internet. So to help answer the question – what is a local business – one approach might be to look at how a person would search for a local business online today.
Typically they would turn to a search engine and for these examples we’ll use by far the most popular one, Google.
Search by Business Location
Our first example assumes somebody who lives in Brentwood Essex is searching for a service in their home town.
They would typically enter something like this into the search bar – the product or service that they are looking for followed by their home town.
Google will return a page of seach results amongst which will be listed a number of dental practices situated in and around Brentwood, Essex.
Search by Searcher’s Location
In our second example we look at an increasingly common search phrase, a phrase that includes ‘near me’.
Google employs a range of location services that provide them with an idea of our geographical location. This provides us with a second option when searching for a local business, we can place the words ‘near me’ directly after the product or service that we’re searching for. Continuing with our example from above we’d simply type ‘dentist near me’ into the search box to see a list of dental practices around our current location.
This format is particularly useful if we’re looking for a service in an area that we’re not familiar with. Imagine that we’re on holiday somewhere and we’re looking for a local restaurant to have dinner. A simple ‘restaurant near me’ search will return a selection of local restaurants.
Definition – a business that provides products or services within a fixed geographical area
So how can we answer the question ‘What is a local business?’ – I would suggest that It’s a business that provides products or services within a fixed geographical area. Another definition might be a business that supports a local community.
How Does Google Help in Your Search For a Local Business
Back in 2004 Google realised the need for listing local businesses in the search results and changed the format of the results page to display those businesses together with an area map and directions to the business.
The layout or format has changed over the years but as of right now (2019) the layout looks something like the following.
The first page of Google’s results contains a section called the ‘local 3 pack’. It displays a local map together with the details of three businesses. These are businesses that are recognised by and included in Google’s business listings. Google’s search algorithm selects three businesses to display within the local 3 pack. Beneath these you’ll find a link to ‘More businesses’. Click this and Google will display a full list of local businesses together with a larger map, directions to the business and a link to their website if available.
In summary then, I think it’s safe to say that the internet was responsible for the eventual demise of the paper based local business directories but on a positive note the internet is able to provide so much more information about a business than those old paper directories ever could.
Are you a Local Business Owner?
If you answered yes and you would like a free review of your business to understand how your business is performing online and some guidance on improving your online presence then get in touch using the contact form, phone or email.